10 Misunderstandings

[ 18 ] April 13, AD 2012 |

For about four years of my life I taught Catholic high school and have heard just about every question on Faith that exists.  I think I heard every moral scenario on any number of topics, theological errors, and even historical misrenderings.  Here are the Top Ten Most Misunderstood Things of our Faith.

 

  1. Immaculate Conception (Mary not Jesus): often I heard students try to convince me that the Immaculate Conception was about Jesus’ conception.  Of course, when I explained it was Mary’s conception, the scandal grows even more.
  2. Purgatory (second chance): The idea that purgatory is a second chance and a person can live a sinful life and always repent in purgatory is sometimes believed.  I used to tell the kids, “It is kind of like Gladiator, ‘What you do here echoes for eternity.”  The way we live now is the way we want to live forever.
  3. Annulment  vs. divorce: “They are the same only annulment is Catholic.”  Well not really.  One declares a union hasn’t properly existed from the beginning and the other thinks it separates the union.
  4. Birth control vs. NFP: Similar to number 3, but in this case it is the means that are very different and make all the difference.
  5. Masculinity and priesthood: Why would a woman want to be a priest anyways?  Think about it; there is a feminine version of priest called “priestess.”  Not that the Church will allow priestesses, but still at least get your words straight if you want to even argue the point.  It would be the same as saying, “I think men should conceive.”
  6. Sin vs. sinner: As a teacher, I had to always drive the point that when I taught on matters of morality, I was never casting judgment on a person and thank God right, I would never want that job.  However, an action can be judged and the personal accountability rests on the person’s free will and knowledge which both must be present for a mortal sin to be committed.
  7. Hard cases of abortion: I have heard too often from a well- meaning 16 year olds that think they are liberalized and Catholic by holding the fatal compromise “I am pro-life except for rape, incest, and health of the mother.”  Don’t get me wrong, those are definitely hard cases to bear the cross, but is it really worth the life of another?
  8. Mortification:  This one was always funny for me.  I was an athlete in high school and always knew that I had to train and keep in shape to compete.  Yea, it would have been great to just show up at games and mystically my mind would change the physique of my body, but that is not reality.  Mortification is our way of whipping us into spiritual shape.  Note: I am not saying I am good at it.
  9. Crusades and Inquisition:  Yes, I am sure so many unjust actions took place during the Crusades but it is still important to get information right.  The legitimate ones were for defending innocent people not to convert non-Catholics.  The Inquisition did try to root out heresy and for the most part was run well.  “Heretic” is often misunderstood too; the Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph 2089:   “Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. ‘Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.’”   So notice, a heretic is one who rejects the faith and it takes place post-baptismally.
  10. Galileo: A number of misnomers here: Heliocentricity is not really true, the sun is not the center of the universe. Galileo and the contemporary pope had a difficult personal relationship whereby each lobbed personal attacks on the other. Galileo could not prove his case at that time. So many more.  See below, Galileo was laid to rest in the Basillica di Santa Croce, Florence.

 

 

Ok, so on with the final contest give away of “Style, Sex, & Substance” signed by Hallie Lord.  First commentator to give what they think is often misunderstood gets the last copy.

 

Last week’s winner for the book give away is FRWBS, I think his list of catholicized wines take the cake…or cheese.  FRWBS contact me and I will send the book along.

 

[author] [author_image timthumb='on']http://www.ignitumtoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/JTDTAT-Childrens-House-Copy-e1329964684276.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Jared Tomanek lives in the country of Texas with his wife Denise, a Southern Belle from Trinidad and Tobago, and his three children. He holds two graduate degrees from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, an MBA and Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Having taught for five years in Catholic education, he now works in the construction industry in Victoria, TX. He is a parishioner of Holy Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Parish in the Diocese of Victoria.[/author_info] [/author]

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J.Q. lives in the country of Texas with his wife Denise, a Southern Belle from Trinidad and Tobago, and his three children. He holds two graduate degrees from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, an MBA and Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Franciscan University of Steubenville. Having taught for five years in Catholic education, he now works in the construction industry in Victoria, TX. He is a parishioner of Holy Family of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus Parish in the Diocese of Victoria.
  • Lara Lee

    We worship Mary! Well, don’t you PRAY TO HER?

  • SonOfTheophorus

    You know, I actually would like to see legislation which somehow lays out that in order for a woman to get an abortion, she needs to file a legal complaint against someone (rape/incest). It would cut the number of abortions down something like 98%. And yes, I am willing to let 2 babies get murdered so that I can prevent the murder of 98. I think that more than appropriate.

    Oh, and health of the mother is incredibly ambiguous and is more of a case-by-case basis.

  • Jean George

    Here is a new one for you. In the senior citizen communities they are now getting “blessings” and living together without the benefit of a marriage license. the claim is that God knows that they are married. It is a little shell game to protect assets and have a convienient way of getting out of the marriage if it is not working out or if one spouse becomes ill and the care is draining the financila assets. So much for faithful, total, fruitful and forever. Ironicallly, lots of these same folks disowned their young adult children in the 70’s and 80’s for shacking up.

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  • Bruce in Kansas

    @Lara Lee: If you are open know to what the Church actually teaches about Mary, here’s a good start: http://www.catholic.com/tracts/browse/Mary

  • Bruce in Kansas

    @sonoftheophorus: please be careful of publicly advocating evil acts. I believe your objective is good, but the ends cannot justify the means. Remember the disordered calculation of Caiaphas in deliberately condemning one innocent man (Jesus) in order to save the nation. A morally good act requires the goodness of its object, of its end, and of its circumstances together. God bless you.

  • Ink and Quill

    Creationism vs. Evolution vs. Intelligent Design. There’s no “Catholic” option, so in order to explain the Catholic worldview to someone, it takes at LEAST twenty minutes of backtracking and clarification.

  • Beth

    Will have to say that I respectfully disagree with you about mortification. I have personally never had my heart changed by disciplining my body. the Holy Spirit seems to work from the inside out. Every time I have been spiritually healed of a sinful condition, it has been by the convicting of the Holy Spirit. Ideally we should be obedient to God because of our joy and gratitude for what He has done for us. When we really comprehend that, then we want what He wants, and obedience flows naturally.

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  • enness

    I used to think purgatory was a get-out-of-jail-free card. Now I think it’s actually the jail. Think about it, if you commit a crime here, you may be remorseful, but you may still have to do time for it in one of our human penitentiaries.

  • LP

    @Beth: The ideal is right. But sinners as we are, sometimes mortification is the obedient thing to do.

  • Bruce in Kansas

    @Beth: Our experience differs, but we are not angels, but are dual-citizens of flesh as well as spirit. Have you ever noticed that praying on your knees is different than praying while just sitting on your couch?

  • J.Q. Tomanek

    @Lara, contact me at jqtomanek-at-gmaildotcom so that I can ship you the book.

    @Ink and Quill, yes that is a difficult situation. I find I am in a similar dilemna when talking about politics and economics. I have my personal views and thoughts (which don’t go contrary with CST) but may be at odds with a person’s thought (which may not go against CST either).

    @Beth, you may respectfully disagree. I would like to add one point. Mortification is not so much about converting the heart as it is about training the will. Although it is not a sacrament, many saints of the Church have practiced some kind of mortification.

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  • Beth

    Well o.k., J.Q., have it your way. If self flagellation works for you, and causes you to have more love in your heart, then go right ahead. As for me, I have never heard of anyone who was freed from the bondage of sinful desires by mortification, nor is that what has freed me.

  • http://theophor.us SonOfTheophorus

    @Bruce I am not advocating evil. I am advocating a lesser good which will accomplish more. If we were to imagine that a gunman is busy killing people in a public square, which would be the greater good? Do we take time to find and stop the gunman but leave his victims as accessible as possible? Or do we first get as many people away from the square as we can first? Clearly the interim law is less than ideal, but the goal of the Christian should be protecting as many as possible. If we can cut down abortions by over 90% in this country that saves 3,300 children per day.

    Opting for the lesser legislation means opting for something which will be able to get passed and it means saving lives. It also actively interferes with an evil and, in most cases, prevents it altogether. How is that evil in order to do good?

  • Bruce in Kansas

    @sonoftheophorus: I am confident we are on the same side of the abortion issue, and I understand that politics is the art of compromise and all, but – unless you are an elected representative proposing legislation here or something – this forum is rhetorical. My caution on your rhetorical exercise was based on your comment, “…yes, I am willing to let 2 babies get murdered so that I can…” How is this evil? Well, objectively, willingly letting any babies get murdered is not good. And, again, to be morally good an act requires the goodness of its object, of its end, and of its circumstances together.

  • http://theophor.us SonOfTheophorus

    @Bruce It is only “ends justifies the means” if you actually have the ability to effect whether or not the evil is committed. Since I am talking about preventing as much evil as quickly as possible, I don’t really see how your statement applies.

    And there really is a point here. If they really don’t believe that abortion is right except in the cases outlined above, then they need to acknowledge that it is something which should be removed in all cases not above. While that does not win hearts, it will win allies. And, honestly, right now the unborn need allies.